Rooney and Owen set to feature tonight at Aviva
Published 04/08/2010 | 12:37
Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen have both been included in the squad for Manchester United's friendly against an Irish League XI at the new Aviva Stadium in Dublin tonight.
Although Sir Alex Ferguson has opted to rest a number of senior players following the recent tour of North America including Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Edwin van der Sar, the presence of Rooney and Owen will generate plenty of interest in the capital.
It will be Rooney's first appearance since his disappointing World Cup campaign, which was followed this week by pictures of him smoking and chanting songs during the early hours of the morning in Manchester earlier this week.
For Owen, it marks the start of his comeback following the hamstring injury he suffered during his goalscoring contribution to the Red Devils' Carling Cup final triumph over Aston Villa at Wembley in February.
With record signing Dimitar Berbatov and new arrival Javier Hernandez also in the squad, it is by no means certain the one-time England international colleagues will be paired together by Sir Alex Ferguson, although it is an important evening for both men.
After returning late to training following World Cup duty, Michael Carrick, Park Ji-sung and Nemanja Vidic, who is on the brink of signing a lucrative contract extension, make their first appearances of a truncated pre-season that reaches its conclusion in Sunday's Community Shield showdown with Chelsea.
Patrice Evra was absent as he only returned to training yesterday, which at least spared the Frenchman a warm reception following his controversial comments in the wake of France's victory over the Republic of Ireland in the World Cup play-offs last November.
John O'Shea was set to skipper United on the landmark occasion, although organisers have been criticised for the price of tickets for a match which will be shorn of any representatives from Shamrock Rovers, who take on Juventus in the Europa League tomorrow.